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Digital Essentials: Connect safely to Wi-Fi

Dangers of public Wi-Fi

Many security and encryption protections are often disabled through a public network, which leaves your data unprotected. This makes you vulnerable to attack as any activity coming through a public network can be discovered and displayed. If you have no choice and need to use public Wi-Fi, make sure you don’t access sensitive and personal information like your bank account. 

Tips for connecting safely to public wi-fi hotspots: 

  • View any hotspot as unsecure – check the security clause of the ‘terms of use’ 
  • Stop your devices from automatically connecting to public Wi-Fi and choose manual connection instead 
  • Use secure public Wi-Fi hotspots that require a password 
  • Think about turning off your location services on your devices, and file sharing on your laptop while you are connected to a hotspot 
  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network as it encrypts the data that passes through the network and can help to prevent cybercriminals from intercepting your data
  • Use secure websites that have https:// instead of http:// at the start of the address; or a locked padlock/key in the browser website address bar
  • Never leave your device alone in a public place especially when it is connected to a hotspot 
  • Remember to disconnect from the hotspot once you have finished using it 

References

Commonwealth of Australia. (2018). Using public wireless (or Wi-Fi) networks. https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/protect-yourself/doing-things-safely/using-public-wireless-or-wifi-networks

eSafety Commissioner. (n.d.). Connect safely. https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/how-to/connect-safely

Kaspersky. (2021). Public WiFi security. https://www.kaspersky.com.au/resource-center/preemptive-safety/public-wifi